May 6, 1903

LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

Has an application been made to send the regular troops to Montreal ?

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
?

The PRIME MINISTER.

Such an application has been made, and tlie telegram

of the Mayor of Montreal to that effect has been publisher in all the newspapers. But the whole thing has been done under a misapprehension. The law provides that when peace and order is threatened, the municipal authorities may call upon the military authorities to give assistance. The municipal authorities have made a request to the military authorities to supply them with troops. Colonel Gordon, commander of the district, has called upon certain volunteers to do patrol duty on the wharfs.

I understand that it is contemplated by Colonel Gordon to replace some of these volunteers by the permanent force

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
?

The MINISTER OF MILITIA AND DEFENCE.

Within his district.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
?

The PRIME MINISTER.

Yes, within his district. All this is a matter for the consideration of the military authorities, and it is a peculiarly military question.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
LIB

Rodolphe Lemieux

Liberal

Mr. RODOLPHE LEMIETJX (Gaspfi).

I may inform the hon. Minister of Labour (Hon. Sir Wm. Mulock) that I have just received two telegrams from the agents of the Franco-Canadian line stating that as one of their ships cannot be discharged it will have to leave the port of Montreal with its cargo. It is also stated in these telegrams that the crew of the ship were threatened that if they tried to discharge thie steamer they would not be allowed to do so. That ship sails under the Russian flag, and the Russian Consul has telegraphed as follows :

Failing to get ship discharged will have to leave port with cargo.

Might I ask, if anything will be done by the Labour Department concerning this matter ?

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
?

The PRIME MINISTER.

My hon. friend is aware that the Labour Department has no power to interfere with the militia in maintaining order. The military authorities have provided men to protect that crew and it shall be protected.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Israël Tarte

Liberal

Hon. Mr. TARTE.

With the permission of the House I would suggest that my hon. friend the Minister of Labour make an offer of intervention. In some cases such an offer has been made unofficially, and with very good results. The hon. minister has at his disposal, I am glad to say, very able officers, especially the deputy minister, and I am inclined to believe that if an offer of intervention were made, it might have some good results.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
CON

Thomas Chase Casgrain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. C. CASGRAIN (Montmorency).

Mr. Speaker, I am probably not in order, but I will conclude with a motion, if necessary. I think the present state of affairs in Montreal has lasted long enough, and some step should be taken by the government to put an end to it or to relieve the municipality of Montreal from a difficulty which is not local in its character, but the effects of which

are being felt all over the country. It is well known that the trade not only of Montreal, but of the whole country is being paralyzed by this strike-the cattle trade and every other trade concerned. Every day more ships are coming to that port, and there are no ship labourers to take the cargoes off the ships. I understand from a very competent authority that merchants all over Canada will suffer to a very great degree should this strike be prolonged. I understand that a great many merchants throughout Canada, retail merchants as well as wholesale merchants, will probably be ruined if this state of things continues. It seems to me this is an occasion on which the Labour Bureau should exert its influence to relieve the tension. It is high time the Labour Bureau did something. I do not know whether they have done anything at all; it is not reported that they have made any effort to intervene between the longshoremen and the ship owners to put an end to the strike. The House and the country should be informed on this point. If nothing has been done by the Labour Bureau, I trust that the hon. Minister of Labour will put as many of his employees as necessary, especially the head of the department, at the disposal of the people who are interested, so as to bring this strike to as prompt a conclusion as possible. As I said before, it is a matter which interests not only the city of Montreal, but the whole trade of this country. The city of Montreal is paying out large sums of money every day for the maintenance of troops to keep order. We have in different parts of the country, not only in the military district of Montreal, but at Quebec, Toronto and other points, soldiers who, though doing their duty to the best of their ability, have very little to do, and it seems to nTe that they might be brought to Montreal to perform the duty which the citizens of Montreal are now attending to. It is a great hardship to many of these people to be obliged to be under arms. Many of them are losing their positions. Members of the Sixty-fifth regiment, the Royal Scots and others have to obey the command of duty, but the employers of many of them are telling them that if their services ai-e required much longer, they will lose their positions. Under the law of this country the militia are liable to be called under arms at any time ; but at the same time, when we have troops stationed at Toronto, at St. John, at Quebec and other points, who are paid then-allowances every day, it seems to me that the authorities might bring them to Montreal and relieve the local militia. I hope in the first place that the Labour Bureau will do everything that lies in its power to bring this strike to an end as soon as possible, and in the next place that the military authorities will come "to the aid of the civic authorities in keeping the peace on the wharfs. I move, seconded by Mr. Kemp, that the House do now adjourn.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
?

Robert Bickerdike

Mr. R. BICKERDIKE (Montreal, St. Lawrence).

Mr. Speaker, we all realize the truth of what the hon. member who has just taken his seat has said. Every one is anxious to have this strike settled, and everything possible has been done to settle it. We are all offering suggestions, but none of them can be put into effect. We have had meetings between representatives of the longshoremen and representatives of the ship owners in Montreal during the last two or three days, at which I have been chairman ; we have sat three nights trying to bring about a reconciliation. The ship owners have agreed to the demands of the men in every instance they are willing to give them the wages thev want, but they refuse absolutely to recognize the union. On that point there is a deadlock. The longshoremen refuse to go back to work unless union men and union men alone are employed. The ship owners on the other hand, say that they will engage the men who suit them best whether thev are union men or not. The hon. member tor Montmorency (Mr. Casgrain) has spoken of the St. John troops. They are there now they came yesterday. There is no trouble on the wharfs ; order is being kept ; any man who wishes to go to work is protected, and everything that could be done has been done. I have just received a telephone message from the President of the Steamship Association, in which he says they have about 1,100 men at work now on the wharfs and that a great many of the teamsters who struck have gone back to work. Matters are in a little better shape than they were yesterday, though they are not by any means satisfactory. Nothing more that I know of can be done at the present time. I would be very much pleased if the Labour Bureau could bring about a settlement. The steamship men will not recognize the union, and the longshoremen will not go to work unless the union is recognized, and hence the deadlock.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
LIB

Charles Marcil

Liberal

Mr. C. MARCIL (Bonaventure).

May I ask if this union is a Canadian or an American union ?

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
?

Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

The union is simply an association of longshoremen which is not incorporated. The head of the union is an American, who is over here now, and is agitating.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
CON

Edward Frederick Clarke

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CLARKE.

The organization is purelv voluntary, is it not ? .

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
?

Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

Purely voluntary.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
LIB

Daniel Gallery

Liberal

Mr. GALLERY.

I would like to ask the hon. member for St. Lawrence, Montreal (Mr. Bickerdike) if the majority of these longshoremen are citizens of Montreal ?

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
?

Robert Bickerdike

Mr. BICKERDIKE.

No, they are not. A great many are, but most of them are from the country districts around Montreal. A great many are shantymen who, after working in the shanties in the winter work Mr. CASGRAIN.

on the wharfs at Montreal-in the spring. Ninety per cent of them are Canadians, but they are from different parts of the district of Montreal.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. E. D. MONK (Jacques Cartier).

Nothing which the hon. gentleman who has just taken his seat has said goes to show that the citizens of Montreal who are mulcted in an expenditure of about $8,000 a day in connection with this strike, and who are contributing their share to the support of the Labour Bureau, receive from that bureau the help they are entitled to receive at the present moment The question I asked was intended to elicit from the hon. Minister of Labour (Hon. Sir William Mulock) an answer showing that since this strike has been in existence, the Department of Labour has taken some steps to bring it to an end. It is incumbent on the hon. gentleman to show that his department has been of some use in this very serious affair. It is certainly the duty of this government to interfere, it is certainly the duty of the Minister of Labour to see what can be done, and the Department of Labour should have had a representative at these meetings which were held, and to which the hon. member for St. Lawrence division (Mr. Bickerdike) has just referred.. This strike has now been on over twelve days. It is the duty of the government, which is interested in the maintenance of the reputation and the good fame of the port of Montreal, to use all the means at its disposal to have that strike brought to a close.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. JOHN CHARLTON (North Norfolk).

The question was aked whether the party who had been influencing the longshoremen to strike is a Canadian and a native of Montreal, and we are fold that he comes from the United States. 'Sir, the emissaries of the labour unions of the Uuited States are traversing this country from end to end. fomenting difficulties, instigating strikes, and acting in a manner detrimental to public interest. Their business is to create difficulties in order that they may give some showing for the salaries they receive, and unless they can foment strikes, their labours are apparently fruitless.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
CON

Frederick Debartzch Monk

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MONK.

Is the hon. gentleman aware that this strike at Montreal has been fomented by Americans ?

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
LIB

John Charlton

Liberal

Mr. CHARLTON.

I merely take the reply given to a question with reference to that matter by one of the hon. members from Montreal (Mi-. Bickerdike). I am also aware that American emissaries are engaged in the business of fomenting strikes-strikes based on the demand that the labour union shall alone be recognized, based on the monstrous assumption that no labourer can lie employed unless he becomes a member of the union. That was the crucial trouble in the great anthracite coal strike, which disorganized business in the United States. This strike was based on the demand that

the union should be recognized, and acts of violence were committed in order to prevent men from exercising their rights as citizens to make contracts with their employers, unless they belonged to the union. That strike was referred (o a board of arbitration. That board sat a long time, it examined into all the circumstances, it delivered its findings, and decided that labour must be recognized as such, that the individual must be recognized as well as the labour union, and that while the labour union might be and should be dealt with, it was not entitled to take the position of preventing the individual from selling his labour to an employer and giving that labour unmolested by the union. The whole country is pervaded by rumours of strikes, fomented by these agitators Who are not, as a rule, Canadians. They come here from the labour unions of the United States to create a state of things which must inevitably lead to great trouble, and even to violence on the paid of those who desire that no one should work except under the auspices of the labour union and at its dictation. It is high time that this matter was taken into serious consideration. I believe that the government would be justified iu excluding these agitators from the country, in considering them as disturbers of the public peace, and requiring them to go forthwith about their business.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink
IND

Arthur W. Puttee

Independent Labour

Mr. A. W. PUTTEE (Winnipeg).

There has been nothing brought up this afternoon which entitles the hon. member for North Norfolk to draw the inference that the strike at Montreal has been caused by union emissaries from the United States. As a matter of fact I believe-and I think that hon. members from Montreal will bear me out-that the strike was on before these men were sent for, and that as a matter of fact the strikers sent for them to come and try to effect a settlement. If men who come here at the instance of the labour element to settle a strike, are to be called agitators, I do not think such language calculated to have any good effect. It was well known throughout Montreal that this striae was bound to take place this year. The shipping federation declared last year that they would not again be put in the same position in which they were last year, when labour was scarce, and said they were about to import men to do their unloading, irrespective of the trade organizations. There is a Bill before the House asking for the incorporation of the Shippers' Federation wth that very purpose in view. At present it is said that there are a thousand men on their wav from the port of Liverpool to come and unload vessels at Montreal. The shippers may be perfectly within rights, but they are making an attack on the longshoremen, residents of Montreal. I rise specially to protest against the unwarrantable inference being drawn that this strike has been brought about by foreign agitators or that

the condition of affairs has been aggravated by foreign emissaries. As regards what was said about the regular troops being more generally {employed to take the place of the militia or' the civil authorities, let me say that we should be very careful how we endorse the calling out and keeping out of regular troops. The civic authorities of Montreal have ample means at their disposal for the keeping of the peace, and I believe that that work should be done by special constables.

Topic:   LONGSHOREMEN'S STRIKE. IN MONTREAL.
Permalink

May 6, 1903